That is one good thing about this world… there are always sure to be more springs. -L.M. Montgomery
Let me start out by saying that changing, growing, and expanding is hard. Sometimes really hard. It can be painful. (The term “growing pains” is accurate beyond our school-aged growth spurts.) It’s certainly not always fun. But the journey is always worthwhile.
When a new client walks into my office at my private practice the first thing I always try to acknowledge is how brave they are. In a society that values independence and a bootstraps attitude, asking for help takes courage. Additionally, being willing to look at ourselves, our behaviors, and our wounds can be scary and a brave undertaking. It’s the most beautiful adventure that I have been honored enough to witness in other human beings.
The season of spring brings change and growth to the forefront, both in nature and inside of us, if we are willing to look.
The older I get, the more I feel the change of each season inside of me. I also recognize it regularly in my counseling practice. In summer, there’s an internal sensation of energetic being, exploration, and an allowing of the present self. Fall is often a time when we recognize a time of letting go as well as harvesting our resources as we prepare ourselves for an internal winter. During the winter months, we switch for a need to reflect, hibernate, and go deeper inside of ourselves. Winter, as dark and cold as it may be, is usually when I see deeper wounds start to heal. Then out of the darkness comes spring. A time for new life and new energy, but this path is rarely linear. There’s usually a movement and release, and then we hit a rock (or a snowstorm) and need to pause and reroute. This might happen a few times before the growth turns into a blossoming.
How do we work with the changes, growth spurts, and growing pains of spring?
We embrace it all. We tend to ourselves as we would tend to a garden. Knowing that growing isn’t easy, we weed out what no longer serves or nourishes us. We think of the things we need to support our upward rising. Is it more connection with friends, a dose of self-compassion, more time outside, or even more time inside? Acceptance of where we are at in the process is also key. Some people are more like Pasqueflowers that bloom in early spring. Others are like Colorado Columbines who need all spring to deepen their roots before they burst into the light of summer. We don’t judge the flowers for when they bloom, but love them whether we get to see their beauty in April or July. We must do the same for ourselves.
Spring Mental Health Practices
Yourself as Garden
Similar to the above process, imagine your internal journey as a garden. What are you growing? Does it need some more time safe from the elements in a greenhouse, or is it ready for exposure and testing outside? What are the potential blocks to growth? Is there anything that needs weeding out? What nutrients (positive care) do you need to support your growth?
If You Were a Tree (or Flower)
If you were a tree, what type of tree would you be. Why? What characteristics of the tree do you possess? What characteristics would you like to possess?
As the weather (slowly) starts to warm, you may be naturally finding yourself outside more, going for hikes, sipping your morning coffee on your deck, taking your dog for walks more often. Is there a way you could make these acts a little more meaningful? For example, is your morning coffee now a way to greet a new day? Your hike a time to connect with the earth? Or your dog walk a time to let go of the stressors of the day and find freedom in your movement? A little bit of intention can go a long way.